I recently sat down with Francesca Schettini from by Francesca, xo. She is an event planner, TV Host & Co-producer of “Design My Party” on Rogers Channel 10 right here in Durham, Designer and DIY Girl. She has been in business in Durham Region for 5 years. I met Francesca very briefly at a workshop about a year ago. When I decided to focus my business on custom wedding accessories I planned to showcase local business owners in my blog to serve as a resource for new brides. Francesca comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in event planning and decided to reach out to her to discuss how to stretch your wedding budget!
I really wanted to know more about her story and her business. Francesca expressed that she was part of a rather large family and she dreamed of becoming a fashion designer. Since she was 1 of 4 children, it was very difficult for her family to send her to college. She instead went into the financial field; she was very successful there and committed twenty five years of her life in the financial sector in many different positions, lastly being a financial director. While in the financial world, Francesca planned all corporate events and used her management, creativity and design skills to execute them. Five years ago she resigned from her corporate financial position and embarked on her journey as an entrepreneur. She started a business that encompassed the idea of “designing events on a dime”. She worked with women in business in Durham Region and became well known in her industry. Francesca also expressed her passion in fundraising for Autism Ontario (this is near and dear to her heart) and the Kidney Foundation.
I went on to ask Francesca what kind of advice she would give a DIY bride when starting to plan her wedding. She was very specific in urging brides to have “3 Must Haves” and an additional “3 Wishlist” components. “Must Haves” would include: Venue, Food, Music and or Photographer “Wishlist” would include: Flowers and décor (what does that look like for you?)
She also mentioned destination weddings. If you decide to get married abroad, it is imperative that you consider those who may not be able to attend due to budgetary constraints. You would need to have a contingency plan for that. So when you are budgeting, you need to set funds aside for this extra incurred expense. Now I know what you may be thinking, why should I be responsible for that? Well, If you want your grandma Jean there you may need to fork out the cash. She may be on a fixed income and may not be able to get there without financial help. You wouldn’t want her to miss the most amazing day of your life would you?… (but I digress). She also urged brides to make sure they have a plan B. There is always a possibility of something going wrong and you simply do not want to be up the creek without a paddle.
I had a day coordinator for my wedding. I wanted everything to run smoothly and I certainly didn’t want to worry about my guests. Having said that I wanted to know from Francesca what specific services she suggested brides should budget for and why. She was very clear in saying Day of Coordination was number one on her list. You, your guests and bridal party should all be able to enjoy their day. A day coordinator will be able to take care of everything; maybe someone needs special attention, your auntie slips and needs assistance. These things can happen and your day coordinator will know exactly how to deal with this so your day goes off without a hitch. Francesca also suggested that you can hire a day coordinator for the entire day, 5 hours to 10 hours. You just need to be clear on what your needs are. The other topic high on Francesca’s list; know your guests. It is so important to know if any of your guests have allergies, if any one needs wheelchair access, addictions etc. When you have a day coordinator, it is imperative that you fill them in on all the details so they can manage the day with you, your vendors, the venue and your guests.
Lastly, Francesca has recently launched a Virtual Planning Program. I was so excited about this and really wanted to know more. Francesca expressed she was very excited about launching this virtual program because it is great for a bride wanting to plan their own wedding. She offers you three packages. The WORKS package assists you in planning your ENTIRE wedding – timelines for the year of your wedding all the way to the day of. Francesca explains it birds eye view of your wedding all in one package and in one place with all the details and specs. Skype meetings are included in the package as well, so you have everything at your fingertips, especially your event planner! To me it seems like the PERFECT solution for a bride to plan her wedding but obtain the assistance she needs from a professional at her finger tips! What bride doesn’t want that? Heck, I wish I was getting married again!
Francesca not only specializes in weddings, she also plans your social and corporate gatherings. Check out her website for more details on her packages and don’t forget to read the “WHY HIRE FRANCESCA” section of her website http://byfrancescaxo.com/. Happy planning!!